Fish have learned to navigate a vehicle on land in exchange for a reward. The video I think explains the test and the study nicely. I will add some words. The scientists involved in this study have proved that fish can steer a ‘fish operated vehicle’ by training them in a small tank on wheels. The biomedical engineers and neuroscientists taught the goldfish to accelerate, turn and stop the vehicle. The objective was to reach a pink target which you can see in the video. Classic positive reinforcement training was employed which is what we see when training dogs and cats. The reward in this instance was a food treat: fish pellets.
Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.
Six different species of fish successfully steered the vehicle across rooms. They avoided dead ends. The researchers reported that the goldfish improved at the task. They also managed to arrive at their destinations even when it was moved or decoy targets of different colours were added.
They concluded that fish may be just as successful in navigating on land as they are in water. The study was published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research. The study took place in Israel at the Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba. The researchers were: Shachar Givon, Matan Samina, Ohad Ben Shahar and Ronen Segev. The first two wrote the report.
The fish “were able to operate the vehicle, explore the new environment, and reach the target, regardless of the starting point, all while avoiding dead-ends and correcting location inaccuracies”.
The Interesting Engineering website reports that back in 2018 a University of Toronto study showed that fish could count. And in 2020 another study discovered that fish can domesticate shrimp to help run their farms. And a little while ago I reported that scientist have concluded that fish feel pain. That is hardly something to be treated as revolutionary because it is obvious seeing as they have a nervous system. It’s important to state this because the fishing industry treat fish as if they do not feel pain.
I have decided to also include a Twitter feed video; the same video with some added bits, in case the YouTube video disappears as they tend to do. Twitter videos also tend to disappear over time.
I am excited to share a new study led by Shachar Givon & @MatanSamina w/ Ohad Ben Shahar: Goldfish can learn to navigate a small robotic vehicle on land. We trained goldfish to drive a wheeled platform that reacts to the fish’s movement (https://t.co/ZR59Hu9sib). pic.twitter.com/J5BkuGlZ34
— Ronen Segev (@ronen_segev) January 3, 2022
What do we take from this study? The obvious namely that fish are sentient beings and we should respect them more. The fishing industry needs to take a different perspective on the harvest that they catch. They are catching sentient beings. They are causing a massive pile of pain. And angling needs to stop. You can’t entertain yourself while causing pain.